‘Unfortunate distraction’ in court case: NPT

Legal action over special meeting date is something of a nonsense, says property firm.

Listed property investor NPT has poured scorn on a legal challenge to its scheduling of a special meeting, after the High Court set a hearing date of February 10 – the same month the meeting is due to occur.

The meeting was called by NPT’s 9.3% shareholder Augusta Capital and proposes a vote on ousting three NPT directors as part of a major transaction process.

NPT chairman Sir John Anderson said the legal action was an “unfortunate distraction” and board had already recommended a February meeting to allow shareholders to consider four proposals, including Augusta’s.   

“We are confident that the meeting will take place before the legal process is completed, and so this action is not constructive and is in fact pointless," Sir John said.

“The board will now return its focus to the task at hand, which is reviewing all proposals based on merit in the interests of all shareholders and the future of the company.”

Augusta has requisitioned a special meeting to vote on resolutions to oust Sir John and fellow NPT directors Jim Sherwin and Tony Sewell.

The three would be replaced by Augusta chairman Paul Duffy and independents Bruce Cotterill and Allen Bollard.

Augusta also wants the meeting to discuss NPT converting to an externally managed company, run by Augusta, and NPT’s purchase of three properties for $329 million.

The identity of the properties, one of which has yet to be built, have not been disclosed but it is understood some or all are currently owned by Auckland company Mansons TCLM.

NPT has hired consultancy Northington Partners to review the Augusta proposal along with three others.

Augusta acquired its NPT stake from investor ACC in September in an $11 million transaction at 73c a share, above the then market price of 64c. NPT shares are currently trading at 67c, valuing the company at $108 million.

Augusta shares last traded at $1.04, valuing the company at $91 million.

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